NORRISTOWN, Pa. - Hundreds of people in Montgomery County find themselves in a tight spot. Rent and bills are due but income is scarce because of the pandemic. For many, it seems hopeless. One program is lending a helping hand to those in need.
With 830,000 residents, a mix of rural and suburban communities, and a robust job base, Montgomery County is largely seen as prosperous. But that doesn’t mean COVID-19 hasn’t wreaked havoc.
Camille Sneed, 50, shares a two bedroom apartment in Elkins Park on the Philly border with her 15-year-old son Malachi and a shy tabby named Phoebe.
She says her searing back pain, heart and blood pressure ailments limit her work as a nursing assistant in long term care homes to just a few days a week sometimes less. Her bills have piled up and so has the pressure.
Sneed feared losing her home and exposure to COVID-19 if she and Malachi were forced to live in a crowded setting with family or friends.
At least 728 Montgomery County households are caught in the very same squeeze: a tightening vice grip of little if any income and COVID-19.
"Housing is healthcare. People who are accessing assistance of this program are able to stay within homes and better protect themselves against COVID-19," Kayleigh Silver, with "Your Way Home," said.
Silver oversees what she calls "two buckets" of federal and state funds of over $50 million in a county program called "Your Way Home."
Partnered with six area non-profits, the group covers rent and utilities for households hammered by the pandemic.
In just a month and a half of operation, Silver says "Your Way Home" has paid nearly $3 million in bills for those in need.
"Households would be in really dire straits but for the existence of this program.," Silver said.
And even though the federal government has banned evictions through June for those who’ve lost income due to the pandemic, Silver claims it’s still happening.
"Why are people being evicted if there’s a moratorium put in place by the federal government?" FOX 29's Jeff Cole asked.
Silver said, "Landlords can still evict for other reasons other than non-payment of rent."
Sneed says her landlord linked her to the group, and with her rent paid until June, she has hope.
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